Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cynic's Paradise

*UPDATE*

The bitch now wants $500,000?! Fucking white trash golddigger with a 10th grade education! Her doctor even says she's faking it! Argh!

***

My parents are going to court Monday after waiting 5 long years. As defendants. (Link to background) We had originally relented and decided to settle with the plaintiff, but the lady and her lawyer turned down the $60,000 offer. They wanted $230,000. Cash. That wasn't going to happen, so we've been fighting ever since. (We've since hired new lawyers. She has, too. The City of Burlington still wants us to shoulder everything. Piranhas!)

I received a phone call from my mom last night. She told me she wanted me to be prepared to delay plans to work in China next year because the family is going to need me until my sister turns 18 and can legally take over our finances.

I'm devastated, of course. All my plans for the future feel like they've imploded out of left field. Partly because of this lawsuit, but also partly due to my lack of ... imagination. Why didn't I have a back-up plan? Why didn't I think my parents' issues would affect me so fully? I've been asking myself these questions as I wait for the decisive sound of the judge's mallet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sucky Day

As I headed home from the airport, my eyes welled up. I flew home last Friday to prepare for my road test only to fail it the following Monday in a spectacular display of ineptitude. Murphy's Law? Perhaps. In any case, disappointment doesn't begin to describe it. I don't know whether I was assigned the prototypical fem-bitch examiner, though it's too late to do anything about it now. The unforgiving morning traffic barreled all around me as fast-moving vehicles relentlessly charged ahead. "Why did you do that?" she'd scold before turning her lacquered finger on me. I felt like I was juggling multiple instructions at once, so I panicked and lost my confidence.

I feel like a failure, like I wasted everyone's time. I flew home for the weekend for the sole purpose of getting my full license, and instead, returned with nothing but mooncakes as a consolation prize. My parents tried to console me with various degrees of success.

"All four people ahead of you failed too," my dad reassured me.

That made me feel better.

"What's the big deal?" my mom asks me. "It's not like your livelihood depended on it. You'll just have to come back and do it again."

That made me feel worse.

It's not that I don't recognize my own disproportionate reaction to this event. But failing this test hurts so much because I feel like I wasted their money, time, and efforts. Like they misplaced their faith in me. And I hate that, completely hate it. Straight As, regular recommendations, complimentary meetings with professors, I've never really given my parents anything to lose sleep over. (Like all rebellious teens, for example, I wanted to move out. Except I worked extra hard in order to be accepted into a prestigious out-of-province program so they'd leave me alone and happily pay for tuition. Practically Keith Richards, I know.) Self-scrutiny is like a fungal outbreak: it bleeds through the walls I've erected and torments me even in miniscule amounts. I'm my absolute worst critic, perfectionism at its lowest. The pain of failure stays with me and overpowers rationale. And today, in the midst of a rather public humiliation, I cracked. KA-POW!

My parents' verdict? "You just have to grow a thicker skin."

My boyfriend's verdict? "Maybe it's because you're on your period."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another day in the 'burbs

Some punk-ass kids have been egging my parents' house for the past few weeks. My sister and I chased after one supposed culprit a few hours ago in an attempt to stop the madness, catching him jumping a stranger's fence. 14-years-old and looking like an anti-McDonald's poster child, Nick originally denied all responsibility. In return, I interrogated him with my best Judge Judy impression.

"Look at me when you're speaking," I would say when he squirmed uncomfortably. "Boohoo, you're guilty by association," when his pity stories fell short. Empathy was not in the cards tonight.

The cops pulled up as my immigrant father repeatedly called the young fellow "stupid" (as my old man is not yet fluent in the art of native cussing). The boy wouldn't "name names" because he was afraid of getting jumped when he attends high school in the fall. He ended up naming names. The popo eventually let the kid go, releasing him to his hysterically angry mother. It seems that the people he was with are well-known in the area as troublemakers. And the reason we had been targeted? Our neighbour John told a young girl to refrain from delivering unwanted fliers to him a few weeks back. She told her brother or cousin or the paper route godfather about the "dick", and a bunch of them decided to avenge her: By egging every house that refused her business. They got the address wrong, now we're stuck with the crap on our windows.

So I take a break from living in downtown Montreal for two weeks and I return to the petty grievances of the suburbs. Don't you just love the smell of juvenile delinquents in the summertime?

***

I know I haven't been updating this blog since my birthday. I don't deny the spectacularly unspectacular nature of my life however pleasantly voyeuristic it feels to any remaining readers, but I still believe it's important to continue to chronicle the inanities of my adolescence. (Like that dude who solicited me as I was walking to my boyfriend's house one evening by asking me for the time, only to reveal that he was actively nursing a hard-on and asked me if I would participate in observing him. His goods weren't exactly polished, so I told him no-thanks and fled the scene, all the while whispering "not again, not again, not again" under my breath.) Unlike many teenagers in my town who graduated high school around the same time, I did not become a single mother/shoplifter/stripper (a.k.a. whore). In fact, the furthest I've really deviated from the straight and narrow is in my current relationship, where selecting the correct paint swatch can become a disturbing example of bourgeois domesticity. ("The horror!" I would imagine my Maoist father saying.) In any case, I will try my best to update more often, however trivial my thoughts, in order to prevent the eradication of the memories of my idiosyncrasies.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Post-Natal, Version 21.0

Birthday today. 21-years-old. Officially legal on all continents. Boy, will it be a fun afternoon studying for French. Yah ...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

For everything there is a season ...

Shotgun Toter told me her father had passed away last month after a relatively short battle with cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease a short while before my uncle died from it. We don't talk nearly as much as I'd like since moving away after high school, but circumstances have made this unfortunate arrangement unavoidable. Although I still consider her one of my best friends, I never got to meet her father in the time that I've known her. From what I gathered, he was not an entirely pleasant character: a hardened soul, a some-time raging tyrant, but a proficient lifelong provider. I never met the man. This distant, yet looming, presence that nefariously infiltrated my adolescent years with Shotgun Toter spent visiting thrift shops and telling surreal jokes at the library. I remember when she used to recount, in her oft-detached demeanor, his impossible outbursts and the subsequent threats that soon followed.

Shotgun Toter told me two nights ago that shortly before her father died, he sent her an email detailing how "proud he was" of her and expressed concern over his younger daughter, the troublesome "favourite". One can only guess why he decided to write that letter. Perhaps he was a relic from a different time, a generation that had little reverence for sentimentalism. Shotgun Toter visited him in the hospital until the end. Whether or not any hatchets were buried between them can only be surmised; it's not my place to ask.

The complexities of losing a parent cannot be understood without a Faustian trade.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Notre Premier Anniversaire

Today is my one-year anniversary with MArt. Douze longs moins. The last couple of weeks have been disaster-free and pretty fabulous. He recently found a job at a chi-chi new restaurant down at the Old Port and I've been continuing my French studies and cooking lessons. MArt is generally more confident and happy when he's working and getting paid (well), so I'm glad he's back on his feet.

I, of course, have been spending money like a recently diagnosed rabies patient. If eBay could talk, it would file a rape report against me. I never understood why MArt would be annoyed by my habit. Considering it's my money, who is he to say how I can or cannot spend it? That's how I deemed his irrational irritation ... until he confessed that when I splurge on materialistic items, it makes him feel insecure about our future together. He questions whether I am as serious about this relationship as he is, since his money goes to the both of us.

This was a surprising revelation because I've always thought his primary worry concerned my inevitable transformation into an ambitionless trophy wife with a penchant for gold and gambling. (An idea I doubtlessly find insulting):

"It's not that you're ever trying to keep up with the Joneses," he elaborated. "It's that it seems like you want the Joneses to keep up with you."

I have my rationalizations for purchasing - what I like to call - "investment pieces," but he is right to assert that the money would probably be better spent on our future. Yet, at the same time, I feel too young to have to sacrifice my expensive hobby for someone or something so hopelessly vague.

Perhaps moderation is key. Moderation and closet space.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Worst. Day. Ever. (This Year)

I attended MArt's photo exhibit yesterday. On the way there, I:

1. Was groped on the metro.
2. Got off at the wrong stop.
3. Was followed by the assaulter.
4. Approached by the assaulter after I asked the ticket lady for a map.
5. Escaped from the assaulter; approached by another.
6. Waved for a cab who took me to the wrong address:
"I'm looking for an art gallery. This is a shoe store."
7. Dropped me off in front of a pawn shop.
8. Walked up and down the street in confusion.
9. Called MArt in hysterics.
10. Was told to look up because he could see me from across the street.

"Uh, what's your girlfriend doing over there?"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Couplehood is for Dupes

MArt and I are going through a very rocky period right now. Very rocky. I broke up with him the day before Zoidberg died, but we made up 4 hours later. I was just so miserable by then that another month, week, day! with him would have been unthinkable. I still think about whether I should have used up another box of Kleenex and stuck by my decision. He was crying, I was crying, then our chameleon died - it was all simply too much to bear.

These last few weeks feel like deja vu. I'm miserable again. Well, not entirely, but I've offered to take myself off his hands again. He is optimistic that we can work it through and regularly calls my bluff. I have very little faith and even less patience. When I discuss this with friends, I'm categorically stereotyped as the "man" in the relationship: stubborn, distant, defensive, and argumentative. MArt, on the other hand, is a (self-described) nag, control freak, domestic Adonis, and expects me to "invest more in our relationship."

So his nagging leaves me cold which makes me more distant and eager to get away from his controlling tendencies that I begrudgingly defend myself against even though he'd like me to be more considerate and affectionate because their absence is fuelling his insecurities ... in the house that Jack built.

And now that I have a job (to further supplement my generous allowance ... and shoe habit), the role reversal is nearly complete.

I know MArt tries his best to please me. At the same time, I tend to also be the target of disappointment. "Stop ripping your lips!" he'd scold. "Don't use that tone!" There are other annoyances and, to me, they all seem rather innocuous. From my point of view, I think that if he says I'm perfect, he should accept my minor flaws. From his point of view, if they are so minor, why can't I correct them?

He calls me a flirt and accuses me of ignoring him when we're out in groups. I say I'm being friendly and we should be able to talk to other people in public. My mother would say this is a problem of perspectives and she would be right. For example, I use the word "argument" synonymously with "reasoning". MArt uses "argument" the same way as "dispute". I use the conjunction "and" to affix a similar or related thought to my former statement. He uses the word "but" to do so. This completely throws me off as I then interpret his assertions to be contradictory and lack discursive progress. These are just some of our linguistic differences that add fuel to the proverbial fire. Furthermore, he has a scientific mind so he's more vested in absolutes than I am, whereas I come from the school of rhetoric where truth is the result of persuasion. But we're both too bullheaded to ever be the first one to concede.

I blame this on our birth order. (Seriously.)

I'm the oldest child and MArt's the youngest child. When he's manipulative, I see through it. When I (try to) intimidate, he makes more of an effort to not budge. This dynamic locks us into a predictable pattern.

Dear Ann,

Is this relationship headed for Doomsville or will these wrinkles eventually smooth themselves out?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Married Life (1912) - Roger de la Fresnaye

I am writing this as MArt sleeps in the next room. A lot has happened since my last entry, so good luck hoping for brevity.

My boyfriend spent March 11 with my parents, eating dim sum and doing errands. It was nerve-wracking for everyone. MArt entered the minivan like a hostage with Stockholm syndrome. My parents looked over their shoulders and resisted the urge to glare. "Happy birthday," they murmured. "Shit," I thought, "like lamb to the slaughter." My mom had insisted MArt join us for breakfast and now this? I tried to make small talk while envisioning unlikely scenarios that could arise from my dad's suddenly erratic driving. MArt sat there with his legs slightly apart, gently squeezing my hand for reassurance (more for me than for himself). I looked at him and mouthed: "I don't think they like you." His face fell. No, no, I didn't mean it that way! But it was too late. He knew: "It's because I'm white." The silence was palpable. I could've sworn I saw my future carved in there somewhere. Then my parents started talking in Chinese. The horror! They could have at least done the decent thing and snickered behind MArt's back, you know, in front of him (which would have proved to me he was being acknowledged). Instead, MArt was forced to listen to their animated conversation about the bloody real estate market (which would've sounded the same to him as, "Go home, cracker").

15 minutes later, we all got out of the car. (Okay, so it only felt longer.) I told my mom to ask MArt some questions about himself. "Like what?" she replied. I don't know, his favourite colour? "We are not children, Lily," she laughed and sighed. It was then I realized, silly me, my parents weren't racists - they were shy! MArt got along fine with them in the restaurant. He managed to pass both my mom's "chicken feet" test as well as my dad's "Canadian Tire" scavenger hunt challenge, which meant eating Asian animal appendages and locating screws and cables at my dad's favourite hardware store. Although my parents didn't talk much about MArt afterwards (which is a good sign because it means they don't dislike him), my dad did enthuse about MArt's exceptional manners. Success!

***

I went on TV to promote a journalism workshop my university was holding for the public. Except, I had to speak in both Cantonese and Mandarin. I guess that's one of the perks of being one of two Asians in a liberal arts program.

*UPDATE*
The host of the show asked me whether I'd like to work as a research assistant with the possibility of being an on-air "reporter" in the future. I think I will decline the offer since it's a volunteer position (and frankly, I'm overqualified for something she thinks I'd accept simply because I'm a student). Besides, I'll be working at a shoe store this summer. That's right, bitches! I recently started working at a boutique to help me with my French. The owner hired me for my looks more than my language skills, but c'est la vie - whatever will prove to MArt I'm not as spoiled as he thinks. (Full disclosure: I've only worked for my parents' retail business and in journalism-related positions, so in essence, this is my first ever paid job.) Mmm ... money. How exciting!

***

MArt and I might be moving in together by June. One year anniversary in just over a month. He is still smitten. Don't know what I'm doing right. Until next time ...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sick Peanut

Well, it has finally happened to me. I've only heard about it in passing as a blip on a sidebar, whispered between laughing strangers. Not that it's a laughing matter, but damn ...

Isn't E. coli food poisoning supposed to happen to ravenous kids at burger joints who can't tell the difference between fromage and frottage?

I woke up this morning with stomach-splitting-cramps. The next thing you know, I'm flushing large quantities of blood down the toilet. MArt, worried, told me to go to the university health clinic. He's been checking up on me since: visiting me before class, calling afterwards, buying me groceries and sleeping over. (You know, the kind of stuff that would make a Gilmore Girl wet.)

I had originally thought it was my unpredictable dietary habits that were the cause. Since winter arrived a few months ago, my fridge has been stocked with two blocks of cheese, some old eggs, and a can of whipped cream. When I do buy groceries, I unload them at MArt's. My mom told me to force myself to eat at designated times: "Don't start eating only when you feel hungry."

But my well-being tends to be an after-thought, usually when I've already succumbed to something a strong immune system would've beaten. My health plays second fiddle to my academic schedule; sleep is time I could be using to complete an essay. I routinely binge and starve because I habitually postpone what I deem as avoidable activities, like food and rest. (Although paradoxically, I will never pass up the chance to taste test new restaurant offerings.) Illness tends to roll off my back because I always feel like I can get over it - I'm a young girl of 20, a time of excellent virility! (Silly, I know.) Except on this day, the pain erupted suddenly and without notice - I was shaking and sweating from the agony. And it was agony - no hyperbole here. It definitely wasn't something I could just "get around to" later.

I've been taking antibiotics my doctor prescribed (total cost: $3.40) and chugging Boost meal replacement drinks. My lower abdomen is a bit swollen and hurts when it is pressed, so I don't have much of an appetite - nothing I can keep down anyway. My stomach hurts in waves - growing and subsiding, coming and going.

It's funny this has happened to me because I used to cook at home like a madwoman. Trying new recipes and blowing smoke up my own ass over how well they turn out. But these winter months have been awful to me. Since I've moved to a much more convenient neighbourhood, I find myself less motivated to get some much-needed sun. And I know when I don't get my vitamin D, my performance sinks in proportion to the mercury reading. So there you have it: I'm a diseased leper who's a hop, skip, and a slip away from being discovered rotting in the tub by neighbours complaining about the smell.

So let this be a lesson to me: Start being normal.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oh, the demise of 30GBs of pleasure ...

My boyfriend caught me trolling for porn last night.

"Good ... female ... porn," he read on my search history. Click, click, click.

I rolled over in my bed, mortified. This was not part of the fantasy.

The thing is, I simply find it unreasonable to have to rely on his stash. It's not fair having to always ask him to bring something up off his hard drive only to have my request be rejected on the grounds that I get, drum roll, too distracted. It wasn't always an issue. MArt used to try to get me off on his little collection as my head dipped over the mattress, watching upending action in reverse. That is, until he deleted every single video from his computer and only downloaded more on a need-to-plead basis ... from me. The explanation he gave for initiating the Great Purge had something to do with being satisfied with me, not needing it anymore, low on memory space or whatever. But that's not a reason to make me suffer!



MArt had called me earlier.

"What's up, baby?"

"Oh, nothing," I sighed. "Watching Japanese origami sculptures on iFilm, reading this microeconomic report, searching for porn."

The problem, I realized, is that I haven't developed a formal system. I believe all men have a system for discovering useable smut and I'm just a lowly beginner with pitiful experience points. However, that doesn't stop MArt from refraining to divulge his Internet-prowling secrets.

"What secrets?" Liar!

But I have learned a few things on my quest for for the obscene: Made-to-order plastic women are really boring to watch. The primping, posturing, and pouting really grates on me because it delays the action. Seriously, stop pinching your melon balls and start pounding that pussy. I'm not taking advantage of the "free tour" for nothing.

It's not like I'm asking for much - I'd just appreciate it if they did their job.

... not that I'd pay for them to keep it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

R.I.P. Zoidberg (2005-2006)

Zoidberg died minutes ago as I was checking up on him. MArt and I had him for only three months before he suddenly revealed how ill he was and passed away two days later. Chameleons are notorious for hiding symptoms until they're too late to be treated.

He had previously been owned by Techbiana, who abandoned him for weeks at a time. When she eventually moved away to be with her 40-something divorcee lover in Seattle, MArt became Zoid's de facto owner.

And now our baby's dead.

It seemed as if he had lost his appetite overnight. There were no external signs of deterioration. His joints were healthy, too. But his eyes soon grew dark and sunken in. I thought it was dehydration, so I took a taxi to a nearby pharmacy and bought him Pedialyte. MArt and I hand fed him with a medicine dropper. The next day, MArt fed him two crickets. We even put him in the shower. I thought he was looking better ...

Both MArt and I cried as our baby's breath grew slower -- his body collapsed to one side. This was the only other time I've seen my boyfriend cry. It has been a very emotional day ...